Searching for the Mark of Cain–Barry’s Exploration of Evil Persons: Peter Brian Barry, Evil and Moral Psychology. Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory, New York: Taylor and Francis, 2013, 198 pp. ISBN978-0-415-53290-7 £85, $119.99 hbk

Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (2):463-471 (2016)
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Abstract

When is it justified to refer to someone as evil? How, if at all, is this different from saying that this person is deeply immoral or simply very bad? Moreover, does identifying a person as evil have practical implications for the criminal law and the institution of punishment more generally? These are central questions that Barry seeks to answer in Evil and Moral Psychology. His wide-ranging analysis attempts to identify and reliably predict who is, and who will become, evil by clearly understanding what is involved in making such claims. If it is possible to identify evil persons, the hope is that we can begin to design ways to rehabilitate and reform them by improving their characters and/or counteracting their deleterious tendencies. A philosophical treatise on evil personhood ought to de-politicise and de-mythologize what is a highly controversial notion, often dismissed out of hand or frequently misused and abused.It is important to state that this is an excellent book, and to re ..

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Stephen De Wijze
University of Manchester

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